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Monday, September 22, 2014

Apple's New Audio System For Thin Devices

Apple Speaker Patent image
Every since Apple hired my friend and surround sound mentor Tomlinson Holman a few years ago, I knew that the company would be working towards higher audio quality in a profound way. And generally speaking, the sound of Apple products does continue to improve, even if it's hardly ever noted. I just purchased a new iMac and Macbook Pro, and could immediately tell the difference between my 3 year old versions.

iPhone 6 plus speaker imageThis recent Apple patent application was dug up that's titled "Long Throw Acoustic Transducer," and it relates to a playback element in the thin device iOS environment. The idea behind it is that it has two permanent magnets that are joined by a linkage with a high magnetic permeability to form a a piston that is inserted into a housing. There are two pole coils surround the housing with each coil adjacent to one of the magnets, and they oscillate within the housing when an electrical signal is applied. One of the magnets can have a vent passage, but that's not entirely necessary. The whole idea is to provide a greater volume of air from a compact device than was previously possible.

We don't know for sure because it's not marked, but it doesn't look like the transducer in the new iPhone 6 plus is using this technology yet. Here's a picture of it thanks to the breakdown of the phone on ifixit. Either way, the boffins at Apple haven't forgotten audio, and we Mac/iPhone/iPad fanboys should be thankful.

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